Our community spotlight is for highlighting the cool things happening in Sandringham. We will be showcasing our local producers and artisans, businesses, community groups, programmes, heroes and activities. If you know of something great happening in Sandringham that should be on our Community Spotlight page please let us know.
OKRA CAFE - May 2022
Kesh Mistry worked as a student at the iconic Sandringham Rd OKRA Espresso Lounge and loved it so much he bought it.
That was 10 years ago and since then he and his partner Jen, who met while studying spatial design at Unitec are still relishing the feeling of community the café has brought to life.
“We are social people and so we are in our café as much as possible - hospo is all about people - they bring the soul of the cafe to life,” Kesh says. “I love it when our customers form connections with other people in the community through a common ground. It’s all about community, comfort, relaxed vibes."
“We have customers waiting before we even open, helping us put out the tables and chairs while we get their coffees ready. We enjoy knowing their orders and being part of their morning ritual.”
Their food philosophy is eat good, live good. “Balance is really important in food and lifestyle and is a driving factor for us both. Our menu consists of familiar items with a slight twist. Our approach to food is simple and wholesome. We are really strong on delicious vegan food,” says Kesh.
The couple have been touched by the support of locals during a tough couple of years through Covid lockdowns.
BLUE ROSE CAFE AND CATERING - October 2020
Owned by Robbie & Lenny, Blue Rose is a boutique catering company nestled in suburban Sandringham near Edendale School. With Cook Island & Maori backgrounds, they take pride in home-made food infused with Pacific and Maori flavours.
Blue Rose caters for birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, fashion shows & corporate functions, but is best known for their pies which feature classic dishes from the Islands wrapped up in flaky puff pastry and have a devoted following with both locals and pie-eaters from across Auckland. Pie flavours include palusami, lu’au and hangi, boil up and Fijian chicken
A cafe is also located onsite and open 7 days, so you can pop in to enjoy a homemade breakfast, lunch or even just a coffee complemented by one of their popular sweet treats such as a koko samoa chocolate cupcake.
GRIBBLEHIRST KNITTERS - August 2020
Knitting together ... can mean two different things. At the Hub’s Knitting Group it means both of them. In March 2017, Helga and Sue, who were then no more than acquaintances - decided to start a knitting group on Wednesday mornings (10 am to 12 pm) at the Gribblehirst Hub. Sue is an expert knitter and Helga a competent one - so they knew they could teach people to knit and help people out of fixes. Through advertising on Meetup and Facebook, the Gribblehirst Knitters has continued to grow, even continuing meeting online during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
As well as working on personal projects, and sharing patterns and techniques, the Gribblehirst knitters make garments for Middlemore Hospital babies in need. Beginners or experienced knitters are all welcome to join! Knitting together has proven to be a wonderfully peaceful and straightforward way to make real connections with people of different countries and ages, and different backgrounds.
ICE N FIRE - August 2020
Jithin moved to Sandringham in 2005 when he was 16 and soon noticed he was surrounded by delicious Indian food. However, there were no other food choices for locals in Sandringham Village. So Jithin decided to capitalise on this gap in the market by starting Ice N Fire in 2017. Now if locals feel like a change from curry they can come and enjoy a burger at Ice N Fire. Jithin has made sure that spicy eaters are still catered for with fusion and Indian flavoured burgers on the menu. The most popular Indian style treat is their TVC (tandoori chicken burger), while the swiss grilled beef is also a strong favourite with customers.
The lack of desserts in the village also pointed to another gap, so ice creams were added to the menu so locals could swing by and enjoy something sweet after dinner. Cold rock ice creams allow for sweets treats such as oreos or fererro rochers to be smashed together with the ice cream. The milkshakes, especially the snickers flavour, are also popular. Ice N Fire is a great addition to the menu card of Sandringham.